Look, we’re not in favor of getting the government involved in any of our gadgetry…but…well… they are already there (FCC allocates spectrum, etc.) so they might as well do something good. John Kerry last month petitioned the FCC to look into wireless carrier/handset maker duopolies, with the Sprint/Pre and AT&T/iPhone specifically being named. That petition looks to have some legs.
Now, the WSJ’s Amol Sharmais is reporting that the US department of Justice is also looking into the matter:
“Among the areas the Justice Department could explore is whether wireless carriers are hurting smaller competitors by locking up popular phones through exclusive agreements with handset makers, according to people familiar with the matter. In recent weeks lawmakers and regulators have raised questions about deals such as AT&T’s exclusive right to provide service for Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone in the U.S.”
We’re pretty sure Apple, in a purely capitalist market, would just love to let anyone on any carrier use the iPhone. Just look at France where the iPhone is booming on all three major carriers after the Orange-iPhone excusivity was deemed unfair to competition.
If the DOJ rules that carrier exclusivity is anti-competitive like France’s government did, Tmobile might get in on some of the iPhone McLovin…and we might get an iPhone that gets a signal in our neighborhood.
The DOJ is also reportedly looking into if Apple and Google sharing directors (Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Art Levinson) is a competitive advantage as well.
You’re hard earned iPod money is going to be buying a lot of lawyer time over the next few years it appears.